The Hashtag and the Protest
When on the night of Wednesday 26 January 2022, our attention was brought to the Twitter hashtag #binancestopscamming by a number of Nigeria users of Binance crypto exchange, we had representatives of the SiBAN Executive Council, led by the President, participate in the Twitter Space meeting put together by the aggrieved users. This was to enable us to have a first-hand understanding of their grievances against Binance and hopefully encourage these aggrieved users to consider a possible amicable resolution of the issue upon SiBAN’s intervention.
The SiBAN Intervention, the Engagements, and the Demands
At the over 4 hours Twitter Space meeting, the SiBAN President, Senator Ihenyen, briefly addressed the aggrieved users. The SiBAN President made an effort to make the aggrieved users understand why Binance may have taken the actions it took, typically due to compliance. He encouraged the aggrieved users to explore engagements between themselves and Binance towards a possible resolution of all issues raised in a measurable and timely fashion.
After a further meeting between SiBAN and Binance representatives on the one hand and between SiBAN, Binance, and a representative of the aggrieved users on Thursday 27 January 2022, a list of demands by the aggrieved users was compiled by SiBAN. SiBAN submitted the list of demands to Binance for its consideration.
Summarily, the aggrieved users’ demand is that Binance must appropriately, transparently, and timeously resolve all outstanding issues affecting the hundreds of Binance accounts which have been blocked or restricted for one reason or the other, or without any reasons given at all.
The Understanding and the Assurances
In order to demonstrate accountability and transparency, Binance swiftly organized an AMA on YouTube the same day. Led by the Africa Director, Emmanuel Babalola—who is himself a Nigerian—the AMA gave Binance an opportunity to respond to the list of demands read out at the AMA.
Mr. Babalola made an effort to clarify Binance’s actions and promised to treat all issues raised in a timely manner. He emphasized that Binance is an exchange that must comply with applicable AML/CFT regulations in order to keep its platform safe for its users.
He assured the aggrieved Binance users that it has set up a taskforce that has started reviewing all outstanding issues.
We therefore appeal to and encourage all aggrieved users to freshly complete and submit the Binance Account Resolution Form circulated by Binance. Please give it some time for Binance to review your submitted form. Meanwhile, SiBAN will be monitoring the process. Any complaint—should your issue remain unattended—may be sent to email@example.com.
Why Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) Should Collaborate and Cooperate with SiBAN in Nigeria’s Blockchain & Crypto Space for a Fair, Safer, and Transparent Industry
In SiBAN’s engagements with Binance throughout this period, Binance’s leadership—both in Africa and HQ—has demonstrated accountability and transparency by assuring us as well as its users that Binance has put the necessary processes in place to ensure that the matters raised are treated as fairly, transparently, and timeously as possible.
As a self-regulatory body in Nigeria’s blockchain & crypto industry, SiBAN appreciates Binance’s commitment to resolving this matter.
We also expect this level of collaboration and cooperation with SiBAN from other virtual asset service providers (VASPs), whether local or foreign. We understand that what is happening with Binance and its Nigeria users today is not unique to Binance as a crypto exchange and P2P platform. A number of VASPs also face the same challenges in varying degrees.
This is why it is important that as players in the Nigeria blockchain & industry, we must all—as much as we can—find common grounds to responsibly address what affects everyone: crypto transaction risks and need for anti-money laundering compliance by VASPs.
SiBAN also appreciates the willingness of the aggrieved Nigeria users to explore engagements with Binance for possible resolution of the issues. The aggrieved users have also demonstrated willingness to cooperate with the ongoing process, given Binance’s commitment to set up a taskforce that will treat all affected Binance users’ accounts. If you are one of those affected, simply complete and submit the form that has been made available by Binance.
For Safety and Security, All Users Must Protect Themselves from Illicit Transactions and Bad Practices
The present Binance Nigeria issues has brought to the fore the growing need for all players in the space—local or global, individual or corporate—to take seriously issues bordering on fraud and anti-money laundering in the growing crypto market.
All users—particularly P2P as well as over the counter (OTC) crypto traders—must conduct due diligence. Ensure that you adhere to KYC compliance requirements and adopt risk management. Imbibe best practices. When suspicious about any transaction, ask questions. When unsure, seek advice.
For a safer blockchain & crypto industry, each one of us must play safe.
The Executive Council
The Stakeholders in Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria (SiBAN) is a self-regulatory body in Nigeria’s emerging blockchain industry. It is founded by stakeholders in the industry for the purpose of supporting players in the space; educating users and members of the public about the blockchain technology; promoting adoption by both private and public bodies; ensuring consumer protection and safeguards against scams; and working with regulators to help maximize the untapped potentials of the blockchain. We are committed to not only securing the blockchain and cryptocurrency space but also securing the future through the power of the blockchain today. By being a part of SiBAN, you become a part of a vision “to transform Nigeria into the world’s safest and biggest blockchain space with the largest blockchain solutions, investments, and adoption”. To join SiBAN, click here.